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Prehistoric Skull May Be Missing Ancestor

It was their inquisitiveness that led them to the dump. And, that in return provided them with a missing ancestor. Missing ancestor! And that too in a dump? Yes. Palaeontologists excavating a dump outside Barcelona have found a skull dating back 14m years that could belong to a common ancestor of apes and humans. The nearly intact skull has a flat face, jaw and teeth. Scientists are contemplating that it may belong to a previously unknown species of great ape.

It was in 2002, a routine land survey for a planned expansion of the Can Mata dump in Els Hostalets de Pierola kicked up the first dust with a surprise. It was a primate’s tooth. Since then, scientists from the Miquel Crusafont Institute of Palaeontology in Sabadell have unearthed nearly 12,000 fossils of primates and other animals that lived during the Middle Miocene era – between 14m and 8m years ago. It was during this era when the area was covered by tropical rainforest and populated by the precursors of today’s elephants, antelopes and monkeys. It was the clay soil on which the Can Mata dump sits that trapped the animal remains and kept them preserved.

Via: The Guardian